ASA-105 to USCG 6-pack - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  

Quick Menu
Boat Reviews  
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Marine Electronics
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here

Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
 Not a Member? 

LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 02-02-2012
bobdamiano's Avatar
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Arlington MA
Posts: 19
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
bobdamiano is on a distinguished road
ASA-105 to USCG 6-pack

Hello there,

In December, I did the ASA-105 navigation class and I found it challenging but very well done and very helpful. I did very well on the final exam. At the same time, I signed up to take a USCG-approved license class from an independent USCG-approved school.

Basically, the first half of the USCG course (nav general and chartplotting) is exactly what ASA-105 is - at least in topical coverage. So far, it's been a very disappointing class. The text is horribly written (it's not even pre,pre,pre rough draft stage IMO), with tons of type-os and wrongly worded questions (and answers). The material is taught at a much more elementary level than ASA as well. For example, I have yet to see a "doubling the bow angle" problem that didn't involve 45 and 90 degrees. And of course you're always going 6kt and the time is 30 minutes. I honestly don't think any of the other students besides me know it can be done doubling ANY angle. Also, there are three different teachers and two of them have never seen this text before and are as confused and perplexed and tripped up by the mistakes as we are.

I had expected this to be an advancement to my knowledge but it's really turning out to be a very elementary review. Another pretty shocking thing to me is that the test will be all multiple-choice answers - even the chart plotting part! The guy next to me said last night "boy I'm glad this is all multiple choice". I said "yeah - good thing the decisions on the boat are multiple choice too".

It's also a damn expensive class. I've read way ahead into the rules of the road and deck-general parts and there is material there that will be new to me. But it still seems like a very elementary coverage compared to what you can read in Chapman's for example. I think that what I'm really paying for is the test itself and whatever help the teachers will give in preparing my application. In hindsight though, I think I would opt for an on-line USCG-approved school. I figure that way I could sample some of the learning materials and get an idea of the quality first.

I'm not going to say what school this is because I'm not out to bash anyone. I actually do like and respect the instructors. I just think they have a really poorly made curriculum. What I don't understand why the CG lets these approved schools make their own curriculum. These guys are fishermen, sailors and charter operators, not instructional designers and authors. I think the ASA model makes so much more sense - a standard curriculum taught by approved schools with real-world difficult test questions. I'm just curious if anyone else has done these two courses and had the same experience and perception. Maybe it's just me. Hopefully by the end of 2012, I'll have my license and this will be but a unpleasant memory.

-Capt. Bob and Linda (owned by Fujin)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Old 02-02-2012
RobGallagher's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Noank, Connecticut, USA
Posts: 1,345
Thanks: 7
Thanked 15 Times in 14 Posts
Rep Power: 14
RobGallagher is on a distinguished road
I went out to dinner a few days ago.
They padded my check, my girlfriend has food poisoning, even the dog got sick from the leftovers. The chef through a knife at me when I sent something back. The owner threatened to have me arrested if I didn't pay for the bottle of wine I never ordered nor did I drink.

The bus boy seemed nice so I don't want to say anything bad about the place.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Old 02-02-2012
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 2,110
Thanks: 6
Thanked 56 Times in 55 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Tempest is on a distinguished road
I did them both a number of years ago. I found the ASA nav test to be more challenging than the CG exam given by the License school I attended. I had a former Royal Navy Navigator in my class who I learned as much from as I did my instructor ( who was excellent) .

With regard to CG course and the other material covered, I suppose alot depends on the instructor. My CG license instructor was a 20 year CG officer, with a wealth of knowledge and experience and good instructional skills.
The class I was in was fairly large ( at least 20 ) with a pretty diverse group of mariners. It made for some lively discussions and exchanges of information. I would not have traded it for an online course.

I'm guessing that it's more the instructors than you. It sounds like I was lucky.
Sabre 34
Morgan, NJ
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Old 02-02-2012
ASA and PSIA Instructor
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,519
Thanks: 7
Thanked 19 Times in 19 Posts
Rep Power: 15
sailingfool will become famous soon enough

you will find the USCG nav test comparable to the ASA exam, so no sweat. You will find the USCG Navrules exam far more difficult than the material in ASA tests, and getting the 90% requires that you know the stuff cold. I dont think any one class can do this material justice, you need to study/cram/flash cards/sample exams until you are blue in the face. I also recommend the Weems&Plath light rule card for route learning of vessel lights Weems & Plath Light Rule Quick Reference Vessel Id - 190 -

The USCG Deck and General covers stuff us recreational boaters never see and is way too broad to really study, yet study yet alone learn. What you do need to learn is how to find stuff in the CFRs which will be in the room, understanding the types of stuff that are in the CFRs and how to find answers when you otherwise have no clue, is what you need to learn.

Good luck.

PS - if you'd like, you can borrow my Weems&Plath light rule card until you're worked for me...
__________________ several regards...

Last edited by sailingfool; 02-02-2012 at 11:35 AM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Old 02-02-2012
bobdamiano's Avatar
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Arlington MA
Posts: 19
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
bobdamiano is on a distinguished road
Thanks everyone! Much appreciated. I actually ordered the rule card yesterday. The next two or three classes are just doing practice chart-plotting problems (which I've already done on my own). The Rules part starts after that. I will study/practice/cram/ etc etc!

One technical question - what's your opinion on Correcting Deviation of a bearing taken with a hand-bearing compass? The USCG class teaches that you correct it using the *Ship's compass's* deviation table. I guess the idea is that whatever local magnetism affects the ship's compass will at least *similarly affect the h/b compass. Seems like a stretch to me.

In ASA, we were taught that since you really can't know the h/b's deviation, you ignore it. In fact there were test questions where some LOP bearings were shot with the ship's compass and some were shot with a h/b. The idea was that you would TVMDC the ship's compass but only TVM the h/b. The USCG class test questions assume you will TVMDC all bearings no matter if shot from the ship's compass or a hand bearing. I tend to agree with ASA on this one but I'll play by CG rules for this test. Any thoughts on this difference of opinion?

-Capt. Bob and Linda (owned by Fujin)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Old 02-02-2012
jrd22's Avatar
Courtney the Dancer
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: San Juan Islands., WA, USA
Posts: 3,858
Thanks: 4
Thanked 20 Times in 19 Posts
Rep Power: 15
jrd22 will become famous soon enough
I haven't taken the ASA class, studied on my own with some written course material and passed the USCG. It was a royal pain and I strongly advocate anyone considering it to take a class. It sounds like you unfortunately got a bum class. I would have retained much more useful info. if I hadn't had to study/cram everything because I didn't know what might be on the test (14,000 quiz questions!). I have a friend that teaches classes and will be taking a one day review for renewal this spring from him, I'm looking forward to interaction with other people there. As has been said here, the rules section is rough, and the deck section was unfamiliar to me so it was difficult too (although I expect this would have been an easy section had I taken a class).
SV Laurie Anne

1988 Brewer 40 Pilothouse

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What to pack davidpm Seamanship & Navigation 5 06-25-2010 12:12 PM
Working on my 6 pack CharterCaptain General Discussion (sailing related) 5 11-18-2008 01:18 AM
Not getting caught in the pack-ice! blackfish Cruising & Liveaboard Forum 28 03-03-2007 01:26 PM
USCG License (six Pack) ehbrown General Discussion (sailing related) 2 12-11-2001 08:57 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:49 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) LLC 2000-2012

The store is owned and operated by a company independent of the forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.